Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia

Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia
Date of publication:  2008
Publisher:  Institute of Southeast Asian Studies
Number of pages:  296
Code:  BM353
Hard Cover
ISBN: 9789812308511
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"I read a fascinating new book. Expressing Islam (ISEAS, 2008) has a chapter by Greg Fealy (also one of the editors) called 'Consuming Islam: Comodified Religion and Aspirational Pietism in Contemporary Indonesia', which reminded me a lot of my grandmother -- yes, her practical, business approach to religion is alive and well in globalized post-Suharto Indonesia. Expressing Islam is the first publication I know of that tries to unravel the complexity of the various permutations Islam has experienced in post-Suharto Indonesia. It contains all sorts of other fascinating goodies besides Fealy's chapter that together map a new panorama of Islamic Indonesia. The book is very detailed and scholarly -- take James Hoesterey's chapter on Aa Gym, for example, the result of two years research at Aa Gym's Pondok Pesantren Darut Tauhid. But because the book is not about doctrinal Islam, but about the daily lives, family, social, business and cultural relations of Indonesian Muslims, it is never boring. If the book shows anything it is that Indonesian Islam is not going to go Arabic. The truth is that after 32 years of repression and 10 years of euphoric freedom, Islam in Indonesia is still trying to find a balance, and you can expect a fair bit of wobbling before we get there. Expressing Islam is tracking that wobble" (Tempo).

"The recently published volume Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia edited by Greg Fealy and Sally White offers the best available overview, in terms of breadth of coverage, diversity of themes and trends treated, and quality of scholarship represented. The volume showcases important new work by specialists on Islam in Indonesia based in Australia and Southeast Asia (and, in one instance, the United States). Overall, Expressing Islam: Religious Life and Politics in Indonesia offers the best overview of the diversity of trends in Indonesian Islam over the past decade. Greg Fealy and Sally White, as well as the various contributing authors, are to be commended for an excellent collection of essays, which merit a close reading by all students of Indonesia and of Islam in Southeast Asia" (Aseasuk News).

About the publication

As the forces of globalisation and modernisation buffet Islam and other world religions, Indonesias 200 million Muslims are expressing their faith in ever more complex ways. Celebrity television preachers, internet fatwa services, mass religious rallies in soccer stadiums, glossy jihadist magazines, Islamic medical treatments, alms giving via mobile phone and electronic sharia banking services are just some of the manifestations of a more consumer-oriented approach to Islam which interact with and sometimes replace other, more traditional expressions of the faith.
          This book examines some of the myriad ways in which Islam is being expressed in contemporary Indonesian life and politics. Authored by leading authorities on Indonesian Islam, it gives fascinating insights into such topics as the marketisation of Islam, contemporary pilgrimage, the rise of mass preachers, gender and Islamic politics, online fatwa, current trends among Islamist vigilante and criminal groups, and recent developments in Islamic banking and microfinance.


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